Taking a move from the Buzzfeed playbook, a Twitter feed associated with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday morning shared a photo of an IDF canine unit with his quote from Wednesday that “Israel is the sinister, unclean, rabid dog of the region.”
Using language that Iran analyst Arash Karami called harsher than usual, Khamenei had told an assembly of tens of thousands of Basij militiamen on Wednesday that the Jewish state was ready to fall and that the leader of the “Zionist regime,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was the “rabid dog of the region.”
“The (Israeli) Zionist regime is a regime whose pillars are extremely shaky and is doomed to collapse,” he said, according to French news agency AFP. “Any phenomenon that is created by force cannot endure.”
On Thursday, despite the criticism elicited by his statements, this follow-up tweet was posted, appearing to show Israeli soldiers with a German shepherd attacking a Palestinian woman. The supreme leader’s statement was overlaid on the photo:
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) November 21, 2013
Khamenei’s comments on Wednesday prompted rebuke by France, one of the six states engaged in negotiations with Iran over its illicit nuclear program. A French government spokeswoman said Wednesday that President Francois Hollande considered Khamenei’s comments “unacceptable” and that they complicated negotiations.
Spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem told reporters that Hollande’s cabinet discussed the Iran nuclear dossier just hours before negotiations between Iran and six world powers resumed talks in Geneva.
She said, however, that France still hopes for a deal and its position has not changed in the talks.
Commenting in response to France’s reported scuttling of the last round of talks earlier this month in Geneva, the supreme leader’s twitter feed wrote on Wednesday that “Supporting miserable #Zionist regime will be a great dishonor to the Europeans. But the #French nation itself should find a remedy for that.”
A senior American official at the talks on Wednesday refrained from condemning the Iranian spiritual leader’s comments, but remarked that they were “uncomfortable” to hear and recalled “the decades of mistrust” between Tehran and Washington.